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John Gould

(1804—1881) ornithologist and publisher


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(1804–81)

A British naturalist who described and depicted (although most of the paintings were executed by his wife) much of the Australian fauna, but whose main claim to fame is that he sorted out and analysed Darwin's collection of finches brought from the Galápagos (see Darwin's finches), opening Darwin's eyes to their geographic and ecological diversity. Before Gould's work, Darwin had not realized the true nature of this group of birds, which later became a keystone of his theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1838 Gould and his wife travelled to Tasmania and from there to some of the islands in the Bass Strait, then South Australia and New South Wales. They returned to England in 1840. Mrs Gould died in 1841, but he completed Mammals of Australia, which was published in 1863.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.


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